Good news from the U.S. Supreme Court! It decided not to weigh in on the fight over Martin's Beach in California. Vinod Khosla, a Silicon Valley billionaire, bought land surrounding the popular beach, intermittently closed the only access route to the public, and has fought a long, losing battle over his "property rights" since. In California, beaches are public up to the high tide line—and established paths to them come with legal baggage, even when they run over your land.
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“The most conservative and divided Supreme Court in my lifetime confirmed that even a billionaire, who refuses to acknowledge that the law applies to him, and retains the most expensive attorneys he can find, cannot create a private beach,” said attorney Joe Cotchett of Burlingame, who represents the Surfrider Foundation, a non-profit group that has won lower cases forcing Khosla to keep the beach open.
“Beaches are public in California, and the immensely wealthy must comply with the Coastal Act just like everyone else.”
Attorneys for Khosla said Khosla will now seek a permit from the Coastal Commission, which surfers and environmental groups, and the commission itself, said was required under the law, to close the gate to the beach, something he had not done. ... The beach, used by families back to the 1920s, is flanked on both sides by steep cliffs and is only accessible by boat or by a road that runs through 89 acres Khosla bought in 2008 from a local family. The case has gained national attention.
Billionaire investor Vinod Khosla has spent years trying to block public access to a public beach in California adjacent to property he owns. He's not only tarnished his reputation, but become a focal point for Americans' growing fear that the ultra-rich are buying the country from under our feet.
A New York Times profile conducted at his invitation, then, threatens to be its least appealing article since the lavish fluffing it gave Ohio Nazi Tony Hovater. But Nellie Bowles' low-key lighting of the path to the sand is perfect. They shiv him with the headline of the year—"Every Generation Gets the Beach Villain it Deserves"—and she lets his monumental narcissism bleed out underneath it.
“I’ve never claimed people can’t come in from the ocean,” he says, seeming to suggest they swim around a rocky promontory. (“No, not death,” he says, when I call later to clarify. “Boats.”)
“I mean, look, to be honest, I do wish I’d never bought the property,” Mr. Khosla says. “In the end, I’m going to end up selling it.”
“If this hadn’t ever started, I’d be so happy,” he adds. “But once you’re there in principle, you can’t give up principle.” He frames the struggle in the Silicon Valley patois of contrarianism. “I’d rather do the right hard things now that I’m in,” he says, “than the wrong easy things.”
Khosla's complaining at Bowles after the article went up is a good example of the Musk Coefficient: the gap between the carefully-cultivated Silicon Valley entrepreneur monopersona and its bathetic "Trump with another 10 IQ points" failure state on Twitter. Read the rest